The Palace of Cortés (Spanish: Palacio de Cortés) in Cuernavaca, Mexico, is the oldest conserved colonial era civil structure on the continental Americas, being over 450 years old. The building began as a fortified residence for Hernán Cortés and his second wife Juana Zúñiga. It was built in 1526, over a Tlahuica/Aztec tribute collection center, which was destroyed by the Spanish during the Conquest and replaced by a personal residence of Cortés in order to assert authority over the newly conquered peoples. As Cortés’ residence, it reached its height in the 1530s, but was eventually abandoned by the family. In the 18th century, colonial authorities had the structure renovated and it was used as a barracks and jail, holding prisoners such as José María Morelos y Pavón during the Mexican War of Independence. It became the seat of government for the state of Morelos after the war. It remained as such until the latter 20th century, when the state government was moved out and the structure renovated again to become the current Museo Regional Cuauhnahuac, or regional museum with exhibits related to the history of Morelos.